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Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

My final Eating the Fantastic episode recorded during the Kansas City Worldcon was also my final taste of Kansas City BBQ. I chose Q39 for my brisket farewell, as Bonjwing Lee, a foodie I trust, had written that the place offered “some of the most tender and well-smoked meat” he’d eaten recently according to his Eater survey on Kansas City burnt ends.

My guest this episode is the incredible prolific Robert Reed, who’s been writing award-winning science fiction for decades—and I do mean decades—starting in 1986, when he was the first Writers of the Future Grand Prize Winner for his story “Mudpuppies,” all the way to 2007, when he won the Best Novella Hugo Award for “A Billion Eves” (which I was honored to accept on his behalf at the 2007 Worldcon in Yokohama).


We discussed why he believes he isn’t as prolific as we all think he is, the reason Robert Silverberg was a role model for him as he was getting started, what it was like writing 500-word short shorts for the Destiny videogame, why he didn’t read the shooting script when his short story “Truth” was made into the movie Prisoner X, how he really feels about collaboration (hint: he doesn’t play well with others), and more.

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Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

As I’ve told you before, I’m addicted to the obituary pages of newspapers, and not just so I can read summations of the lives of the rich and famous. I’ve always been moved by the passing of regular folks, too, and sometimes, certain write-ups stand out.

And so, here’s your uplifting obituary of the day.


I regret never having met Henry Frank Kulesza.

I’d have liked to listen to polka and eaten some kielbasa with him.


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

A few days ago, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America announced that the nominations period for the Nebula Awards had begun, and since all my 2016 short stories have now been published—and the recommendations period for the Bram Stoker Awards from the Horror Writers Association is ongoing as well—it’s time to gather info about my publications in one place so eligible voting members of those two organizations can take them into consideration.

First up, two science fiction tales—

“101 Things to Do Before You’re Downloaded”


This 5,850-word far future science fiction story appears in the anthology You, Human, edited by Michael Bailey for Dark Regions Press. With the Earth about to end for our descendants, there are still a few more things that need to get done before it’s all over …

[UPDATED November 27 to add video from Chessiecon, so you may now see and hear me read all four stories I published in 2016. Enjoy!]

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14 November 2016 @ 02:14 pm

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Remember my 44-year struggle to sell a story to Analog? Well, that long struggle is almost over.

You’ll have to wait until the double-sized January/February issue goes on sale December 20th to read “After the Harvest, Before the Fall,” but the current issue has an In Times to Come feature which made me extremely happy.

Check out the start of the third paragraph —


Nice to have proof this wasn’t just an elaborate prank by editor Trevor Quachri.



Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

I may have given you the impression, based on the three previous episodes of Eating the Fantastic, that all I ate while I was in Kansas City for this year’s World Science Fiction Convention was BBQ. Not true! This episode’s guest requested sushi, which led us Bob Wasabi Kitchen, giving me some respite from the meat sweats.

And who’s the guest this time? Kathleen Ann Goonan, whose first novel, Queen City Jazz, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and who won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel for In War Times. And, I should add, who wrote the story, “The Bride of Elvis,” which I had the honor of publishing twenty years ago (yikes!), back when I was editing Science Fiction Age magazine.


We talked about which side she chose as a kid in the Marvel vs. DC comics rivalry, why she ended up a creator of science fiction rather than fantasy, whether she’s a plotter or a pantser when she writes, if she’ll ever continue her acclaimed Nanotech Quartet, and more.

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Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

As I told you the last time I gathered my dreams, I seem to be remembering fewer of them these days. It isn’t that I’m not having them—I continue to stir in the night aware I’m rising out of dreams—but between the time I reach consciousness and reach for a pen, the dreams mostly dissipate. My hold on them has for some reason weakened.

I’m not sure what that means. I only know that instead of up to seven dreams harvested a night, I’m down to one, if that. Which is why it’s been three months since I’ve bothered pulling them together like this to see whether there’s any sort of theme running through them.

In any case, this time around, my dreams featured guest stars Marilyn Monroe, Miley Cyrus, Jon-Erik Hexum, Lee Remick, George R. R. Martin, and more …

October 2016

I dreamt I tried to convince Ted Chiang to teach a workshop, and stuffing my face with cake at the same time, so he couldn’t understand me. Oct 31

I dreamt I wandered NYC looking for pie. Cherry pie. But it was eternally elusive, and I — sniff! — woke before I could find any. Oct 29

I dreamt I was kidnapped in some unspecified foreign country, and brought to meet a drug warlord, who turned out to be … Miley Cyrus. Oct 24

I dreamt Somtow Sucharitkul interviewed me about Japan, and all my answers were required to be in Japanese. (The interview did not go well.) Oct 23

I dreamt I was out at a restaurant eating a big bowl of Spider Soup, and complaining it contained too many noodles and not enough spiders. Oct 22

I dreamt I’d volunteered for a one-way trip to Neptune, but in the final days before launch, I was starting to have second thoughts. Oct 22

I dreamt an episode I’d written of The Untouchables was about to air, and I was wandering around a con looking for a TV so I could watch. Oct 21

I dreamt I caught a baby’s car seat as it was falling down the stairs, but the baby slipped out and continued plummeting. Not a nice dream. Oct 12

I dreamt Gordon Van Gelder and I were lobbying Congress to pass laws helping out independent bookstores. Don’t know whether we succeeded. Oct 2
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Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Another episode of Eating the Fantastic … another helping of Kansas City BBQ.

As part of my quest to eat all the BBQ I could during this year’s World Science Fiction Convention, I ended up at Gates B-B-Q, since according to the word on the street (if the Internet can be considered the street), it’s one of the two best BBQ joints in Kansas, the other being Arthur Bryant’s.

Here’s a story of the difference between the two of them which may be apocryphal, but—I’ve heard that when candidates for political office come to town, they always head to Arthur Bryant’s for their photo ops—but the journalists, the crews running the cameras, the working stiffs following those candidates—they head to Gates. I have no idea whether that’s truth or fabulation, but it sure does make for a good story!

Joining me at Gates was the ridiculously talented Alyssa Wong, nominated at Worldcon for the The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and winner of the 2015 Nebula Award for Best Short Story for “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” … which is also up for a World Fantasy Award. Whether or not she wins will be revealed at a banquet this Sunday in Columbus, Ohio.


Listen in as we chow down on BBQ and talk about what franchise inspired her to write fanfic, the exciting moment when she first encountered a character who looked like her, where she hopes to be 10 years down the road, how she encountered Faceless Ghost Grandma, why she said, “I hate being bored and I don’t like rules,” and more.

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27 October 2016 @ 11:29 pm

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Seeing Carol Tilley lecture at the National Archives on the letters kids wrote to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Special Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency in 1954 defending comics books turned out not to be the only comics-related thing in my life this afternoon. Because as I was heading back to Union Station for my train home, I came upon the following street art which made political statements by tweaking actual covers from old comic books.

Here are the four I saw, accompanied by the original covers I tracked down.

activistcomics1 jimmyolsen127Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Carol Tilley—who’ll be speaking Thursday at the National Archives about letters kids wrote to the Senate defending comics in 1954—just posted over on Facebook the front page from the August 25, 1940 issue of Fantasy News … and I can’t resist sharing one part of it here.

Thomas S. Gardner, whose short fiction had been published in the ’30s in Wonder Stories, complained that the new science fiction comics were so inane as to cause some readers to give up on science fiction entirely. Plus comics (or so he claimed) were even damaging the reputation of science fiction—and the fans themselves.

Science Fiction is being guffawed, ballyhooed, and ridiculed out of existence. The readers and magazines are being classified as morons as a result of the comic books.

Luckily, though, the prescient Gardner predicted comic books wouldn’t be around for long.

The comic magazines are a fly-by-night affair in all probability. The fact that few appear for the second issue but start out with a new series hoping to sell the first copies is pretty good proof of their impermanence.

Gardner lived until 1963, after the Golden Age of comics had ended and the Silver Age had begun. Wonder whether that was long enough for him to change his mind?


You can read the issue in its entirety over at FANAC.


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

There’s only one more convention I plan to attend before the end of 2016, and it’s not the World Fantasy Convention, since I decided to give that stop on the circuit a pass this year. Instead, you’ll be able to find me at Chessiecon, which was highly recommended by this year’s Guest of Honor, Sarah Pinsker. And since I trusted her enough to invite her to be the first guest on my Eating the Fantastic podcast, I figured I could trust her on that as well.


If you make it to Timonium, Maryland at the end of November, here’s where you’ll be able to find me … aside from when I’m wandering the halls or hanging out in the bar, that is.

Saturday, November 26, 2:15 p.m.
I plan to read an excerpt from my short story “101 Things to Do Before You’re Downloaded,” which will appear in the upcoming anthology You, Human.

Stupendous Bollocks
Sunday, November 27, 1:45 p.m.
Our host asks obscure questions which exist not as much to be answered as to encourage panelists to tell us what they know (or what they can make up) about the subject. Points are awarded for interesting answers, regardless of their correctness or relevance to the original topic.
with Carl Cipra, Heather Rose Jones, Steve Kozeniewski, Elizabeth Schechter

I have no idea what that second item on my agenda will be like, but I look forward to finding out together. Hope to see you there!

18 October 2016 @ 02:25 pm

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Sunday afternoon was one of the highlights of my year, because at the end of an extended weekend in New York—during which I recorded four new episodes of Eating the Fantastic—I got to take Marie Severin to lunch and then spend several hours sitting outside in the sun with her on an unseasonably warm October day.


And when I say I did those things, I of course mean we did those things—for any visit to the Mirthful one must include the Impish one—my wife, Irene Vartanoff.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

When recording a podcast in a restaurant setting, sometimes you have to deal with the background chatter of other customers, and sometimes you have to deal with music pouring from overhead speakers … but I never expected I’d have to deal with a speeding locomotive!

That’s right—in an Eating the Fantastic first, my guest and I had to contend with a freight train. Actually, more than just a freight train—but many freight trains.

When it came time for dinner at Fiorella’s Jack Stack, we were given the choice of a table either in the main dining room or out on the patio, and because I was afraid the loud music combined with the conversation of other customers would create an ambient noise you’d find distracting, I decided we should eat al fresco … not realizing there were railroad tracks nearby, which meant an occasional locomotive would pass. But don’t worry—I think you’ll find the result more amusing than annoying, especially when (as you’ll hear) one overly loud engine caused my guest and me to break into song.

My guest this episode is Hugo, Nebula, and Stoker Award nominated writer Adam-Troy Castro. Adam has published more than 100 short stories, some of which I was privileged to buy back when I edited Science Fiction Age magazine, plus a story someone else had the honor of purchasing—my all-time favorite zombie story.


We talked about the epiphany caused by his first viewing of Night of the Living Dead, how he handled a heckler during his early days doing stand-up comedy, the history behind the novel he almost wrote spinning off from the classic TV show The Prisoner, and much more. We even, for reasons you will learn, had cause to sing a few bars of the Johnny Cash classic “Folsom Prison Blues.”

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11 October 2016 @ 11:11 pm

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

You know how I say that one of the best parts of any convention is leaving that convention for a meal with friends? (A belief, by the way, which eventually caused me to create my podcast Eating the Fantastic.) Well, the meal I had last Friday night during an escape from Capclave with Natalie Luhrs and Aaron and Angela Pound proved my point.

A couple of days before Capclave, I learned that Range—which I’d visited many times before, one of those times being for a meal on a break from last year’s Capclave—would be holding a two-day pop-up by Charleston’s Jeffrey Stoneberger, chef and owner of 2Nixons, which has earned itself quite a rep for its take on Asian street food. And the first of those two days happened to be the first day of the con. So you know I had to be there.


Stoneberger had previously staged at The Fat Duck and Noma, so you wouldn’t expect him to be the sort of chef to turn his hand to ramen and yakitori. But that’s what he’s done. And the food he put before us last Friday proved worthy of that lofty resume.

Here (rather belatedly, and briefly, as it’s been a crazy week) what we were served that night.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

I can’t remember the first time I met Doug Fratz, but I know the first time we were under the same roof—though I don’t think I knew it at the time. It was in 1971, at Phil Seuling’s annual 4th of July Comic Art Convention, and thanks to Mike Zeck, a comics fan turned comic pro just like me, a photo turned up from that day a few years back.

Here we are more than 45 years ago …


That’s me in shadows to the left, in the front row as always, wearing my denim jacket emblazoned with studs and a barely visible “War is not healthy for children and other living things” patch. (Yes, I was a hippie.) And there to the right, half a dozen rows back, is Doug, his hair at the time equally as long as mine, if not longer.

I have no idea what panel we were waiting for when Mike ran to the front of the room and snapped a photo of the crowd, or whether Doug and I actually met that weekend. No matter. We met sometime within the next few years, and I became a constant reader of his fanzine Thrust, which eventually changed its name to Quantum, earning five Hugo nominations along the way. And when it came time for me to edit Science Fiction Age, and later Science Fiction Weekly, he became a frequent book review contributor.

When we last spoke, just a few months ago at the Kansas City Worldcon, we reminisced about Discon II, the 1974 Worldcon which had been the first for both of us. I’d hoped to see him again at Capclave next weekend. Instead, I’ll be taking his place on a panel there about book reviewing, when I’d much rather have been in the audience hearing him talk on the subject. He was a nice guy, an excellent critic, and will be greatly missed.

For more details about Doug, check out his entry at the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

In honor of Luke Cage, which debuted today as a Netflix series, and in memory of my young teen years as an annoying fan with a sketchbook, may I present a drawing done for me by Billy Graham, the legendary artist who drew that character for Marvel Comics in the ’70s.


Though I’d eventually come to know Graham as a fellow creator at Marvel, this undated drawing was done long before then, likely in 1972, or at the latest, 1973, back when I was just another pleading kid.

We never got particularly close later during my comics pro years, so he was just an acquaintance with whom I’d have the occasional conversation, but whenever our paths did cross in the Bullpen, he was friendly, and seemed like a nice guy.

I wish he could have seen the character to whom he’d contributed so much get this level of attention, but alas, he died in 1999.


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

As I told you before, I ate a lot of BBQ during this year’s Worldcon in Kansas City. Unsurprisingly, four of those meals became episodes of Eating the Fantastic. The first of those four, and one of my favorites, was recorded at Danny Edwards Blvd Barbecue. (Danny Edwards’ family, BTW, has been barbecuing in Kansas City since 1938.)

I was joined for lunch there by writer David D. Levine, who won the Hugo Award for his story “Tk’tk’tk,” and whose debut novel novel Arabella of Mars had been published the month more.


We talked about the things being a science fiction fan for so long taught him about being a professional science fiction writer, what it was like contributing to George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards universe after having read the series since Day One, how pretending to live on Mars for two weeks helped him write his newly published novel Arabella of Mars, and much more.

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Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

The latest iteration of Capclave is only 11 days away! So it’s about time I let you know where you’ll be able to find me at this Gaithersburg, Maryland con.


Here’s the programming they’ve assigned me, as well of the names of the co-conspirators with whom I’ll be making mischief.

Well Worn Classics
Friday, October 7, 5:00 p.m.
Some science fiction classics are so steeped in the time they were written, they are painful to read now. In some ways, getting the technology wrong is secondary to getting the sociology wrong, as when sexism and racism rear their now-ugly heads. What classic novels show their age but are still a pleasure to read, and which make us wince?
Panelists: Scott Edelman, Barbara Krasnoff (M), Karen Wester Newton, Lee Strong

Saturday, October 8, 11:00 a.m.

Literary Inspirations
Saturday, October 8, 1:00 p.m.
What author’s works have influenced, inspired and even just amused the panelists.
Panelists: Scott Edelman, J. J. Smith, Lee Strong, Joan Wendland

Biggest Mistakes Made by Beginning Writers
Saturday, October 8, 3:00 p.m.
The panel will discuss both writing and promotional mistakes: How writers have screwed themselves over and killed their chances of making it in the publishing world by doing easily preventable things.
Panelists:Scott H. Andrews, Marilyn “Mattie” Brahen, Scott Edelman, Bjorn Hasseler, Hildy Silverman

Plus—I hope to record a few new episodes of Eating the Fantastic during the weekend.

Hope to see you there!


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Just as I foretold, I spent Friday and Saturday participating in the Baltimore Book Festival. And I even have proof. See?


My name on the program board at the Science Fiction Writers of America tent!

I took part in four programming items—here I am (in a photo taken by Sam J. Miller) with Lara Elena Donnelly as I pontificate on Friday’s “The Future of Science Fiction & Fantasy” panel.


I had a great deal of fun hanging out with friends and interacting with readers, so much so I regret I didn’t stay on for today’s third day of the festival. And as usual, a lot of the fun took place outside the confines of the official event itself.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

I was reading the December 1916 issue of The Scoop (as one does), a magazine “written by newspaper men for newspaper men,” which is filled with fascinating anecdotes about the way the world was for journalists 100 years ago, when I came across a reminder that the technology we think of as essential often … isn’t.


A full-page ad which appears on the back cover decries the fact Congress appropriated funds for continued mail delivery by pneumatic tubes in New York City, but failed to do the same for Chicago. According to the ad (which is unsigned, so is apparently more of an editorial), there were 10 miles of two-way, eight-inch tubes running under Chicago at the time which delivered 8,000,000 pieces of mail daily.

In response to the idea that mail should instead be delivered by trucks rather than pneumatic tubes, the question is asked, “If we are going backward, why not get a wheelbarrow?”


“Any change,” insists the author of this piece, “would be calamitous.”

Well, here we are, a century later, and that calamity never came.

Which makes me wonder … what technology do we hold dear today, and insist we could not live without, will a century from now seem as quaint as pneumatic tubes do today?


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

During Readercon, you got to share Thai food with Resa Nelson, eat a full Irish breakfast with Jeffrey Ford, and down donuts with a parade of 15 writers, editors, and fans. Now it’s time to say farewell to Readercon with a visit to The Lobster Stop in Quincy, Massachusetts for (what else?) lobster rolls … and F. Brett Cox.

Brett co-edited (with former Eating the Fantastic guest Andy Duncan) Crossroads: Tales of the Southern Literary Fantastic (which featured a story about Randy Newman by yours truly!), and has had fiction, poetry, essays, and reviews appear in Eclipse Online, War Stories, Century, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Postscripts, and many other venues. He’s also hard at work on a book-length study of Roger Zelazny for the University of Illinois Press.


Over lobster rolls, we talked of the debate we witnessed between Isaac Asimov and Harlan Ellison in 1974 at our joint first Worldcon, how the Connie Willis story “A Letter from the Clearys” made the scales fall from his eyes, why George Saunders is his “favorite contemporary American short story writer,” and more.

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